- Date: 16 October 2009
- Artform: Music, Visual arts
- Area: South West
Artist-in-Residence at the Gloucester Cathedral
Thursday 30 April – Sunday 31 May 2009. Gloucester Cathedral, 2 College Green, Gloucester, GL1 2LR.
Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva is an ArtSway Associate, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. She was Artist in Residence in the Faculty of Media, Art & Communications at the University of Gloucestershire, and based at Gloucester Cathedral. Central to Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva’s practice has been her desire to respond to particularities of a given location, and for her show at Gloucester Cathedral, Hadzi-Vasileva presented a sound installation consisting of 40 individual sounds, played by 40 speakers.
The piece is inspired by the history of the Cathedral’s cloisters and uses the structure of Thomas Tallis’ (1505 - 1585) remarkable 40-voice Spem in Alium. The speakers will transmit recorded sounds consisting of a collection of existing bird songs and Gregorian chants by the Cathedral Choir, as well as live transmitted sounds from the Cloisters Garth (garden) and from the nearby Highnam Woods.
Each of the four sides of the cloisters represents one of the four main natural areas of the county of Gloucestershire - Forest of Dean, Severn Estuary and Vale, Cotswold Hills, and Cotswold Water Park - and its songs are from birds associated with that area.
In the Garth are planted native trees and shrubs to give good cover for the birds to enter, hide and feel safe. Bird feeders attract local birds and invite them to use the space. This sanctuary will remain and continue to evolve beyond the residency. There will also be 40 small portrait heads made out of chickens’, pheasants’ and ducks’ heads. Their strange beauty and elevated status will draw attention to the ambivalence of our relationship with birds, whom we both protect and preserve as well as exploit.
The opening night ‘s performance confused the discarded and the ceremonial in a gown made out of chicken skins. Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva’s year-long residency was supported by the University of Gloucestershire, Arts Council England South West, Gloucester Cathedral and Gloucester City Council. Technical Audio support by Andrew Lansley, University of Gloucestershire and George Moorey, Gloucester
For more information please visit . Bird photos by kind permission of the North Cotswold Ornithological Society from their forthcoming book “Birds of the Cotswolds: A New Breeding Atlas”. The Wildlife Sound Recording Society provided all of the bird recordings that are being used in this exhibition.